On March 18, the House of Representatives passed the American Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6), which would provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and those protected under Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforcement Departure. Nine Republican members joined Democrats, bringing the final vote to 228-197. Also, on March 18, the House passed another piece of immigration legislation, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 1603), by a vote of 247-174.
The pair of immigration bills constitutes Democratic lawmakers’ first steps to enact major changes to immigration law. In February, Representative Linda Sanchez (D-CA) introduced the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, a comprehensive immigration bill, which among other provisions, includes an increase in the number of H-1B visas for individuals who graduate from U.S. schools with a STEM degree. The House is expected to take up the U.S. Citizenship Act in April.
While progressive immigration reform is expected to pass in the House, success in the Senate chamber is more uncertain, where a 60-vote threshold must be reached to advance the legislation to a floor vote. CGS continues to work with lawmakers in a bipartisan fashion while advocating for a legislative solution that enables Dreamers and other non-citizens to overcome barriers preventing them from accessing graduate education in the U.S. (CGS policy brief: DACA and Graduate Education).
DHS Issues Temporary Flexibilities for Visa Renewals
The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) efforts to continue processing nonimmigrant visa applications are essential to ensuring international students can return to the U.S. to continue or complete their programs of study. CGS and the higher education community continue to advocate for the timely processing of visa applications and updated guidance on international students for the 2021 academic year.
NLRB Withdraws Rule Barring Graduate Student Unions
NLRB has reversed its position on the issue several times in the past. The proposed rule, submitted by a Trump-appointed board, was the first attempt at creating an overarching rule that would have permanently excluded teaching and research assistants from being covered by the National Labor Relations Act.